Craig Meikle is hoping home comforts can help Penicuik complete a famous Scottish Cup win over Pollok tomorrow – after they toiled to handle the hostility in Glasgow last weekend.
The Midlothian outfit threatened to pull off a surprise smash-and-grab win when they took they lead against the run of play at Newlandsfield Park, but Pollok, backed by a vociferous home support, managed to force a replay.
It left Meikle nursing a sense of frustration at what might have been for his side, but the Penicuik boss has ordered his players not to come off the field with any regrets when they reconvene with the West Super League side tomorrow.
“We feel we have some unfinished business against Pollok,” he said. “We went through there looking to win the match at the first time of asking, but I wasn’t happy with the performance. All right we’re still in the cup, but we can play a lot better than last week. We were nervy and twitchy and didn’t do ourselves justice.
“There is unfinished business because we should have that game done and dusted, but didn’t hold our concentration long enough. Some of us froze on the day because of inexperience and we almost paid the penalty.
“I cannot fault the players for lack of effort, but I wanted more. We can give more and that’s what I’m looking for tomorrow. We can kill this game dead if we play as we can. This week we’re at home in front of our own crowd and hopefully we’ll settle and start playing again.
“Last week there was a big crowd, but it was hostile and some of our players looked like they hadn’t played a hostile crowd before. They had better learn fast because Pollok will come here fighting to stay in the cup, just as badly as us.”
Michael McDermott, who has already won the Scottish Cup during his time at Linlithgow, is expected to shake off injury in time to bring some additional experience to the Penicuik side. “I hope any experience I have can rub off me and the players around can get a lift,” said McDermott. “I’ll be ready to help any of our younger players who haven’t been this far in the Scottish before. We’re playing for a place in the last 16 and with a but of luck we can get even further.
“It’s not always the best footballing side who wins the cup. It’s sometimes the luckiest. We’ll be ready and hopefully we can get the job done.”
Meikle, who also hopes to have Ryan McCallum and Grant Killin fit, would love to see his side roared on by a big home support as they bid to make it into Sunday’s fifth-round draw, which takes place at Cumnock Juniors Social Club at 1pm.
“I believe we have a side who can go further in the Scottish,” he said. “I haven’t changed my mind, but we need to play a lot better than we did last week. The players won’t freeze like last Saturday because they are playing in front of their own supporters on their home ground. A good run in the Scottish doesn’t win you the League but it gives the club a lift and a lift would help us get over the hurdle of promotion.”